FQA - Fire Questions Answered

Legislation

Common areas of blocks of flats - I have a client who manages a block of flats, some of the flats are owner occupied and some have tenants in. The question I have is who is responsible for ensuring that the flat entrance doors are maintained and are up to the required standard? This block has various flat entrance doors that are not compliant and require upgrading/replacing. The thing is that the management company are hitting a brick wall when it comes to insisting that these doors are brought up to the required standard, the flat owners are ignoring them. Where does their responsibility start and finish?

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) - I have been informed that fire doors in HMO now have to be installed to residents flats from the common areas is this a new regulation and is this regressive or is it to be done if residents change their doors in future?

Fire risk assessment – legislative responsibility - I am a joint owner of a small block of 4 apartments in a converted Victorian house - 3 floors over basement. I understand under the Fire Reform Order 2005 we are required to carry out a risk assessment of the common areas. There are no particular problems or risks that we are aware of.

Could you advise if we can do this assessment ourselves and if so, what elements do we need to cover? Is there a template or a checklist for example that we could us?

We are three companies in one building. Max of 23 people, but not all the time. My company has 12/13 people, the first floor has 2/3 and the g/f 6/7. Do we need a fire marshal from each company or do we all have to have fire marshal training? I just want to get this right, if you could help me I would be most grateful.

I wonder if I might canvas your opinion on a matter affecting the production of FRAs for a mixed use (commercial and residential) occupied building where construction works is being carried out converting some of the office suites back into residential accommodation.

I have always taken the view that a multi-let property will have its own FRA for the common parts, plant rooms, etc.; that the commercial and retail tenants will have their own FRAs in place; and that any construction works, carried out under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM), will have a Fire Strategy and a FRA in place. Under CDM, it is a requirement for the Client to provide the Principal Contractor with Pre-Contract H&S Information, part of which would include the landlord’s current FRA for the common parts, together with the landlord’s views on any other fire considerations that the contractor should take into account in the production of his FRA for the works, such as potential fire alarm false alarms because of dust, or the blocking of escape stairs by stepladders. I have looked on line at what other people do and they seem to follow the same ideas.

I attended a meeting earlier this week that was the precursor to a RRO Fire Audit by the local fire and rescue service, where the Fire Officer asked when the last FRA for the common parts was carried out. It was stated that is was done before the construction works was started. The FO then stated that because there was no landlord’s common parts FRA that took into account the construction works, then he did not consider that the building had a FRA in place. We were then instructed to do one (currently in production) before the audit next week.

Now, I don’t mind spending the landlord’s money producing common parts FRAs every time a tenant carries out some fit-out or refurbishment works on any of the buildings in the landlord’s portfolio (I will have to produce a new one on this building when the construction works are completed), but it doesn’t seem right.

Is this an aberrant view that this FO has, or has everyone else been interpreting matters incorrectly? Should I be looking forward to 10 times more work than I have had before now?

Does the mandatory annual fire training have to be undertaken by an official fire safety person, ie a fire officer or a person with specific qualifications?

When completing a fire risk assessment for an office building what fire safety legislation is likely to apply other than the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005?

If an employer is attempting to locate more people into a room than the fire risk assessment advises what specific legislation can be used to advise the employer against this course of action?

Is a hot work permit required for brazing on copper pipes in new builds with a contract value of over one million?